Friday, May 23, 2014

Botanics and AMH Sew Together Bags

This is the last post for my Sew Together Bag marathon. I've made six total. Now I'm very done.

This first bag uses some Anna Maria Horner fabrics I received in my swag bag at Sew South. I had 1/2 yards of a few prints. This was the perfect project for them. I love the outer print. I had enough of these fabrics to make a second identical bag (not pictured).

I'm still on a Botanics kick and loved using my FQ bundle of this line. I really like how this particular bag turned out. I think it's my favorite so far.

I still love my new labels!

A couple more tips I've learned from making this bag five times now:

  • Mark the fold lines on the side panels very carefully and accurately. 
  • Don't sew over the metal on the zipper. 
  • Shape flex works nicely as interfacing for the side panel, and I still love home decor bond (Pellon 809) interfacing for the bag body. 
  • Interfacing details: For the bag body (outer, visible fabric) I prefer to cut the interfacing the full size of the pattern piece. For the the four interior (bag lining) pieces I prefer trim the interfacing 1/4" short each side to account for seam allowances, but I still have the interfacing extend the full height of the pattern piece (extending completely to the raw edges that attach to the zippers). I do not interface the three zipper pocket linings. 
  • I keep thinking there has to be a better way to stitch the side base all together. It's quite a wrestling match to do that step as well as adding the binding on the base of the side panels. If anyone has figured out an easier way, I'd love to hear it. That is my biggest frustration with this bag design. It's cumbersome and difficult to get straight.
  • When sewing the bindings, I found it easier to sew with my quilting table snapped onto my machine. I liked having a solid, flat surface and found that easier. 
  • Pins and wonder clips are your friends. Don't hesitate to use them. A lot.
  • Don't sew over your finger when using the zipper foot. Okay, so I didn't learn this the hard way, but I'm always terrified I'll sew over my finger when stitching zippers. 
  • Always baste zippers first. I cannot sandwich the bag, lining, and zipper with pins and get a nice straight seam. I always baste my zipper to one section first and then sew everything together. It takes an extra minute, but always turns out much better for me. 
  • When stitching the binding to the long zipper on the top of the bag, stitch with the binding on the bottom. My machine tends to feed better with fabric on the bottom rather than the zipper. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it didn't stop me from sewing with the zipper on the bottom the first time around.
Finally, this Sew Along saved me when making this bag: Quilt Barn Sew Together Bag Sew Along

The pattern can be purchased from Sew Demented.

Whew! Now back to quilting! I can do bags and other projects for a while, but quilting is still my favorite.


  1. These bags look fantastic! Thank you for the tips and tricks. This bag is on my immediate to do list -- my niece has asked me to help her make one this summer. Yikes!

  2. this might be kind of a "no duh" suggestion, but have you tried holding zippers in place with wonder clips instead of pins while sewing? i made a bag the other day where i had to sandwich together the bag fabric, the lining fabric (which was PUL!), & the zipper tape. i didn't want to pin it because i didn't want to make any more holes in the PUL than strictly necessary. it was slipping & sliding all over the place & i couldn't get it even, & then i was like, "wonder clips!" i don't know how i never thought of it before. i've sewn plenty of zippers, holding them in place with pins & then basting, & even with pins, it's hard to get them where i want them. inserting the pin can make the zipper slip around a little. i haven't tried the sew together bag pattern (yet!), but maybe it would help?

    that botanics bag looks especially gorgeous. well done!

  3. These are so cute! The recipients are super lucky to get such lovely bags from you :-)

  4. I'm not a bag making person but I would love to find someone who sells them to purchase!!

  5. I use Roxanne glue to baste my zipper in place. I guess Elmer's glue would work too.

    1. What a great idea to use basting glue! I love that you shared that! I must confess that I use it for many things but it never occurred to me to use it for zippers. Duh! lol

  6. We are leaving next week on an RV trip. My husband will be playing golf and doing some fishing. I do neither but I am taking my small sewing machine along and all the supplies for 2 of these bags. I am happy to get any tips and tricks from folks who have already made these bags. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks for sharing these tips. I bought the pattern about a week ago and will be tackling it soon so appreciate the helpful hints. Like Jo Ann mentioned, I use glue to baste my zippers. Your bags came out great!

  8. Loving these, especially in the Botanics :o)

  9. Those are gorgeous! They look so professional! I have never attempted a bag - I'm too chicken.

  10. I love your new labels too! Where did you have them made?

  11. Found your post about these labels - thanks.

  12. THANKS for sharing your tips. Immensely helpful!